A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Nature Walk to the Rio Grande

Early the next morning I took the nature walk leaving right from the campground. The trail led across this pond via a floating boardwalk...
...then up this staircase...
...where I got my first sight of the Rio Grande river. This was not what I expected. For some reason I had this vision of deep narrow canyon with a river far below.
Another view from higher up where the boardwalk and campground can be seen.
I continued on coming across holes in the rock where people from a long time ago had ground seeds.
Soon after was this.
Much to-do was made by the Park Service to not cross the river. Do not interact with the Mexican people on the other side should you encounter any. Do not buy anything from them. Doing so is a violation of Homeland Security regulations and will be considered contraband and confiscated. And on and on. The truth of the matter was I came to learn that the Park Service is only doing what it is told to do. In fact they would like to see things to revert back to how it was before 9/11/2001. The little village of Los Boquillas relied heavily on the dollars of tourists who visited the park. The villagers would ferry campers across the Rio Grande where they then could walk into the small town, have a few tacos and cervasas and buy the local handmade trinkets and souvenirs. Now that has all been taken away from them (and us) and they are suffering greatly. The Mexican and American fire fighting services worked hand in hand with each other combating fires and even that has been greatly hampered by the idiocy of Washington DC.

I left $5 in the plastic bottle for this and flagrantly displayed it on my dash for the remainder of the trip.
On other trails I found more of these little displays which included nicely made walking sticks beautifully decorated along with other wire and bead work, left for the honesty and generosity of us campers to buy. Each evening in the cover of darkness these poor folk would cross the river and check on their little trail side stores, collecting what money was left for them. The park rangers turn a blind eye.

I sat here by the riverside for a long time, thinking. I thought about how pretty and peaceful it was. How here I sat in America, and there just a stones throw away (I tried it and did hit the other side) was Mexico. How simple and poor their lives were, how complicated and rich was ours. How I held in my hands photography equipment worth more than what a family over there can earn in a year or more. I felt a bit embarrassed, ashamed.
Two totally different cultures and lifestyles seperated by less than 100 feet of water.

The village of Los Boquillas below the Sierra del Carmen


  1. beautiful photos. lovely scorpion (i'd pay you $15 for it!) :)

    and truly, so sad and poignant. you said it exactly - the guilt sets in when we realize how much we have, how much we own and can buy, how much we can waste - when so many have so very little. how terrible that those folks must 'trust' that americans will pay for what they take (and not take other's payment as well) in order to barely live on what we consider spare change. so many good folks are trapped by drug wars and gang feuds. very sad. we have so much that we take for granted... thanks for this touching post.

  2. Hi John, Beautiful photographs and well-expressed sentiments. I agree completely with you, these strict crossing regulations have caused loss on both sides, one of which for us is the reminder to consider our situations and alternatives. It's a big world. I also greatly admire you for your choice of occupation.

  3. What a beautiful place, and fantastic photos.

  4. Amazing place, and your pictures are beautiful.
    I share your thoughts in this story.
    Big differences between people living almost side by side.
    It's a crazy world.
    Thanks for sharing my friend.
    Greetings from,

  5. your photos get more beautiful with each post. they're dream-like in their austere beauty. I love these landscapes and if not for how extremely dry it is, I would want to live near there some day. your first photo is jaw-dropping gorgeous. I hear you about the great divide between those who have more than they need or could ever use, and those who have so little and barely enough to scratch out an existence. I was reminded of that watching the royals yesterday. I enjoyed it, but oh my. great post John. I wish I had one of those walking sticks...

  6. What a wonderful place to explore. Great photos.

  7. I didn't realize the Mexican people were not allowed to sell their wares because of Homeland Security rules. Very sad for them, since I'm sure they need the income.
    The photos of the river are lovely.

  8. Gorgeous photos! Homeland Security... arrggh...

  9. I loved the staircase. Great photos. Your post is just exactly what our sentiments were when we were there.

    When we walked down to the riverside, there was a man singing a song and playing his guitar. I remember it being rather poignant and melancholy. (Details are a bit fuzzy now.) Walking sticks were available, too. There was a little boat close to him so he could hop in and cross the river quickly if an official car seemed to be approaching.


I appreciate my commenters. Thank you. Sometimes you may ask a question which I am all too happy to answer. But if your comment comes in as Betsy-noreply-comment - I cannot reply back. Change you comment settings to include an e-mail address and then bloggers can reply.